Last week I wrote about 7 tips for parents on Move-In Day. At the end I wrote: “I made it through the day without tears–mostly. It was a long, busy and tiring day. When my husband and I stopped for lunch — alone — and I realized that we were truly alone — the tears ran down my cheeks. I wiped them off and prepared myself for battle for the next stop at Target. When, it’s time to say good-bye — well, I’ll tell you how that goes another time.”
Kat during our 6th trip to Target
So, how did it go when we said good-bye?
We had planned to stay until Sunday. Move-In day had been Thursday. We wanted to be around for a few days in case she needed us. She wanted us there on Thursday, but by Friday — not so much. It began to make sense for us to leave a day early. We didn’t want to hang out and wait to see if she wanted us around. It didn’t make us feel good and we weren’t enjoying ourselves exploring the city that much. We had a long drive ahead of us, too. So we went out for an early morning walk Saturday and talked about how we’d let her know that we felt it was time to leave.
She texted us at 7 a.m. Saturday.
text from Kat
It was time to say good-bye. We walked on over to her dorm. I took a deep breath. I said a prayer to be strong.
“Do not cry. I can do this,” I repeated in my head.
She opened the door, I wanted to say something profound and loving. Something she’d remember — but I said nothing. My husband said a few things and I nodded my head.
I opened my mouth, my voice cracked and wavered. At this point I cannot remember what I was trying to say.
“Mom! Mom! Stop it!” she said. “Don’t!”
She held my face in her hands, like I was the child. “It’s going to be okay.”
A view during our walk on campus
Tip 1: Make it short and quick.
Bill and I walked out of her room into the bright cool air that is Utah. We walked all over campus for two hours and I felt much better — amazed at what a strong beautiful woman we had raised.
Sage Point dorms at U of U, the athlete housing for Winter Olympics 2002.
I saw a blogger on TV talk about “banishing the play-date.”You can read his post here.
I reminisced about my childhood. I played in and out of neighbors’ backyards, rode bikes from dawn to dusk — with no adults bothering me.
When I had kids, I found they didn’t have freedom like we did.
I went to Mommy and Me with my son Robert at the Palm Springs Pavilion. We learned to sing songs together and play “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “I’m a Little Teapot” with a dozen other moms and babies that apparently needed the coaching.Each week, we took turns bringing snacks of grapes or string cheese. I look back at this as a training ground for the proverbial play-date.
Play-dates developed from the Mommy and Me group. We had a park day, which was actually fun and healthy. Moms sat together on quilts on the grass and talked for hours while our kids played on the now-banned steel playground equipment — a super tall, steep slide, a merry-go-round, and a stagecoach that they could climb into, on top of and jump off of. Sometime during their early childhood years, our city tore out the dated, dangerous equipment and put in rubber ground and safe equipment. My kids never liked to play on the brightly-colored equipment and our park play-dates vanished.
One day, I got a phone call from a friend. She homeschooled her daughter and hand-picked her friends for a weekly Friday Play-Date. She hired a teacher to run play-group, and each week included a lesson, a theme, craft and snack, followed by 10 minutes of unsupervised play on her backyard swing set.
I felt honored to be in the select group. My kids had made their mark. Months later, she took me to lunch at CPK and told me she had some big news. She was uninviting one of the boys. I hardly saw this is earth shattering, but perhaps there was more to this luncheon. Maybe it was a warning!
Years later, when my kids were in high school, they reconnected with friends from play-group. NOTE: This wasn’t just a play-date, it was play-group. They remembered it as if they were fellow Mouseketeers, having survived a bizarre childhood experience.
By 7th grade, I was homeschooling my daughter. Every Wednesday, I picked up her best friend from school, and brought her to my house to play until her mom got off work. This was another sort of play-date. We moms thought it was an ideal way to keep their friendship going. Since my daughter loved arts and crafts — homeschooling allowed her to try ceramics, mosaics, and quilting — I said that the two girls could do an art project each week.
But that didn’t happen. I was tired from supervising my daughter’s activities to the half hour, and my daughter just wanted to hang out with her friend. So, I retired to my room and left them alone. After a few weeks, the friend didn’t want to come over anymore. She said she was promised an art activity and she was disappointed that they weren’t doing anything.
That makes me think about our kids and their overly structured lives. I love having quiet time. I hope my kids do, too. We need to unplug, unschedule, and let our kids regain their creativity and inner peace. They need us to leave them alone and let them be kids.
During my weekend visit with my son at UCSB, we discovered how far women have come from my generation to his. (Yes, I’m talking about the same son that tried to give away the cat on Facebook — read about that here. And, he’s the one that wrote about his crazy mom for his senior project — read about that here.)
We were out to dinner at The Palms in Carpinteria, where you grill your own steaks or halibut, with one of my best friends, my son Robert, and his girlfriend (She’s a poet and an CCS English Lit major. You can read some of her poetry here).
My friend and I talked about home ec, and we wondered if it was offered as a major in this day and age? My mom was a home ec major in the 1950s, by the way.
My son said, “They really DID have an MRS degree!”
“Not only was it a college major,” I said, “but we were required to take home ec in high school.”
“Only the girls, that is,” my friend said.
“WHAT?!” both Robert and his girlfriend were horrified. How alien to their lives is a gender-based school requirement. We explained that the boys took wood-working or shop.
My son thought for minute and asked, “What did you learn in home ec?”
“Scrambled eggs, sewing an apron, sex ed, how to clip coupons and general household budgeting,” I answered.
“All of those things should be taught to men and women,” the kids said.
The horrific tragedy at UCSB this past week (where my son goes to school) has caused me to think about today’s culture versus mine growing up. Our children have been exposed to more violence than we were — and I’m afraid they are desensitized to it. This is the 911 generation. My son was in third grade when that tragedy occurred. We’ll never forget it. I’ve had discussions this week with friends reflecting on the media differences in the past 40 years. When I was a kid, we watched TV together as a family. We weren’t in our separate rooms with our own electronic devices, watching silently, alone. I’ll write more about this at another time. In the meantime, please read about my favorite sitcoms from my childhood.
Every Labor Day Weekend, Mom drove us “downtown” for back-to-school shopping at Frederick & Nelson’s — a massive department store with everything from Steuben glass to rows and rows of different colored threads and Simplicity patterns — and to shop at the Bon Marche´ and Nordstrom. It was a 45-minute drive from our little town Snohomish to the big city of Seattle.
One year, 1970 to be exact, there was a promotion near the Girls’ clothing department to watch the screening of a TV pilot. Mom and I took a break from trying on dresses, and we sat in a dark empty room with a large screen.Soon, I was to watching in complete fascination about a family singing in their garage who recorded a top 40 hit! Yes, it was the Partridge Family with heart-throb David Cassidy! My mom liked the show too, because of Shirley Jones, who starred in the musicals Oklahoma and Carousel.
Once school started, I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about the cool new show that was going to be on TV in a few weeks! But, everyone already knew about it. David Cassidy was on the cover of magazines my friends read, but my mom didn’t allow — like Tiger Beat, and 16.
At my best friend’s house, we practiced singing along to “I Think I Love You” for hours on end. (Click on the title, to hear that phenomenal song!) We turned her fireplace hearth into our mini stage, with toy guitars and a tambourine, and we dressed in white blouses, maroon cords or velvet bell bottoms. We were the Partridge Family! Now that was a TV show. Click to listen to the original happy song — “C’mon Get Happy!”
Two other shows that we looked forward to and watched religiously were….
Great TV that fortunately with DVDs and Netflix, we can enjoy today. And yes, my kids have been subjected to all three of these. They like the humor in Mary Tyler Moore best. The writers were great and the jokes are funny four decades later.
Besides the story lines, I was so involved with the characters of these three shows. Plus, the fashions were so groovy!
I’d like to hear what TV shows you liked to watch when you were young. What show was your favorite?